The land acquisition process for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) has begun, Malay-sian Prime Minister Najib Razak said yesterday.
Datuk Seri Najib said MyHSR, the Malaysian delivery partner for the bilateral project, has submitted applications to freeze land development so the viability of the pre-selected corridor for the 350km line can be studied. A three-month public consultation will be launched on Nov 1 to allow Malaysians to give feedback or raise concerns on the route. Information will be made available at key locations along the HSR corridor.
"These selected areas are further refined to reflect public feedback on the alignment," Mr Najib said when launching concept designs for Malaysia's seven HSR stops.
MyHSR's commercial director Tonny Yeap said actual land acquisition could start by mid-2018.
Kuala Lumpur and Singapore signed an agreement last December to build and complete the HSR by 2026. The line will have eight stations. Singapore's station will be in Jurong East, while there will be seven stops in Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Seremban, Ayer Keroh, Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri. Most of the line - 335km of it - will be in Malaysia, with the remaining 15km in Singapore.
Responding to reports that developers of Forest City in Johor have lobbied the government to place a station in the mega property project just west of the Second Link crossing between Singapore and Malaysia, MyHSR chief executive Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal said the Land Public Transport Commission is looking at the proposal.
"They will come up with a decision with the government. As of now, we have seven stations in Malaysia and one in Singapore. I can't speak for the future, but our current plan is to focus on these stations," he said.
When asked about potential bidders for the HSR project, Datuk Nur Ismal said two industry briefings have been held in Singapore and London. "We are made to understand that activities leading up to the tender are very exciting. And various parties are teaming up to bid."
He said there will likely be multiple bids when the call for tender is launched at the year end. Bids will be submitted by mid-2018.
The non-stop express service between the two capitals is expected to take just 90 minutes. The journey currently takes four hours by car.
Malaysia will also run a domestic transit service to stop at every station between Kuala Lumpur and Iskandar Puteri.
A Singapore-Iskandar Puteri shuttle service will also be offered.